Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fondue Party Poetry

Hey everyone!

Scroll on down and check out the awesome poetry from the event!

We ended up running out of fondue (I think we ordered enough for 100) and the last time I heard the count was about 130ish (if someone actually knows fix this please). The speaker was great and it was nice to have someone who actually lived through it speak at our event, and the poets' poems were really good, and I can only guess that we had yummy fondue-that is what I get for being late-no fondue.

Hopefully next year it will be even bigger, better, and tastier!

Look at me and tell me what you see

Look at me and tell me what you see

Should a young man like me dream dreams that seem impossible to reach

Should I write to breach those who’ve been taught to break the mold

Whose thoughts of gold are caught in this world’s onslaught

Which brought upon distraught and they fought to fill in what’s internally missing

Just as I’ve been, millions maybe even billions of browned skinned young children

This generation sealed in a nation where the thirteenth amendment didn’t emancipate enslavement

Dig deep to reveal what’s concealed under the pavement and you will see minds of all ages in cages

Barred together, tarred and feathered, charred in weather, scarred forever

So now we spar together

To fight for rights and despite that I write these letters

It’s clear that we’re still far from better

I guess it’s hard to sever this instilled mentality

So now you’ll see we stand on corners casually

Passing weed, crack, and speed reaching for success passively

Until you feel the breath of reality on the neck of a fallacy

And you gradually step closer to death or prison

Now in a prism that’s best left bereft

But I guess its slavery depth is one of the best kept secrets

Because, this institution, we despise but decide to keep it

Inside we feed it what we believe are diseased pieces

This is a war but I don’t need battle fatigues or a saddled steed

I’m not trying to dabble in greed

No I’m not asking for forty acres, any favors, or even reparations

No need for any form of repayment to replace with what’s been taken

The only thing that can save man are prayers to a savior

The flavor of victory is no mystery to history

For history has persistently overpowered equality

You’ve lost a part of you and I’ve lost a part of me

Through the middle passage you can follow me

To strange fruit hanging and dangling from hollow trees

To those who suffered in Dachau Auschwitz, Belsen, my apologies

My heart goes out to those lured from overseas

Sold into sex slavery

Those set in debt bondage forever

Sprayed with fire hoses and dogs unleashed

Through the Tallahatchie the blood leaked

Walked three hundred eighty one days just for a seat

And I still wonder what is the price to be free

-Daniel Travis

The List of Things I’ve Never Done

You’ll have to forgive me.
I’m a little nervous.
I guess you could kind say that this is my poetry debut.
I’ve never done anything like this before.
So I thought about it
And made a list of some of the things that I have never done.

I’ve never seen the sun set below the horizon of a never-ending field, while riding in the back of
a flat bed truck after a hard day’s work.
I’ve never had the chance to listen in on Philosophical conversations, held by educated men,
while I served them coffee or Brandy.
I’ve never been able to provide diamonds for all of the beautiful girls in the world, let alone all
the girls that I have loved.
I’ve never traveled to the heart of New York, where I was able to peddle goods, on street
corners, to earn money for those who paid for my trip.
I’ve never worked in coffee fields for an hourly wage that is much less than the price being paid in the purchase of the final product.
I’ve never been forced to walk the midnight streets of L.A. making in money for pimps by
doing favors for strange men.
I’ve never had to work in shops that are defined by the perspiration that comes from my long hours and manual labor.
I’ve never been sprayed with pesticides while working in heat that could boil your blood.
I’ve never had to wade in the water while being watched over by mercenary men with machine guns held hand-in-hand.
I’ve never been knocked out and kidnapped from my family only to come to in a house full of
broken girls.
I’ve never been kidnapped from my home, given drugs and brain washed into wanting to fight as
a child soldier.
I’ve never seen the last look on my father’s face while I was torn from his arms and taken away.
I’ve never had my virginity stolen from me when I was 10 years old.
And I’ve never been born into a system, where I didn’t have a choice, but only a way of life.
I’ve never done any of these things before.
So the least I can do,
is take on these nerves,
and create awareness for those who have.

-Luke Boggess

How I Relate to Slave Labor

I walked into the M.T. Cup

(where the coffee’s not great but

at least Myles hires cute girls

for minimum wage

to work behind the counter)

with an Indianapolis Star

in my right hand

and the idea of a drink on my mind.

“Black coffee please.”

Because that’s what great poets do

as they read the daily news

as if to taste the pain of the world


the plain color of a plastic lid.

With my idea in my hand

and the paper on my mind,

I paid the cute girl with a tip,

left her with a smile,

and made my way outside

to where the people sat around black circles

and discussed grey topics

as the insides of their cups

began to show their true colors.

While I

made my way

to a spot below shade

and set down my black pack

that reminds me of a book bag

that I once had when I was seven years old

that read:

“Made in China”

on the front pocket

below the emblem of

my favorite basketball team.

I remember asking my mom

“Why was this made by Chinese

if they didn’t speak English?

if they don’t know who the Chicago Bulls


And if they’ve never seen Michael Jordan

play ball before?”

Answering my own question

before she had the chance to explain

I came

to the conclusion

that it must have been a mistake.

So they donated it to America.

Knowing a little more on the topic


but thinking about it a little less,

I took a seat at the table

and a sip from my drink.

It was warm outside that day.

So I, removed my Nike cap

that was Made in China.

Unzipped my Columbia fleece

Made in China

Exposing my gray J. Crew T

Made in China

And tugged at the legs of my jeans

Made in China

Adjusted the shades on my face

Made in China

And leaned back,

and propped up on the table

my red, white, but mostly blue


that were Made in China.

And I thought about how comfortable

I was

as I read those censored stories

about the poor

and about the raped

and about the abused.

And I sipped from my black coffee

as if I could taste the pain of the world


the plain color of a plastic lid.

-Luke Boggess

Monday, November 16, 2009

2nd Annual Fair Trade Fondue Party

We are putting on the Fair Trade Fondue Party again this year with help from some other student organizations on campus. It is also a tie-in with the Freshmen Connections Common Reader, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, so we were able to get more funding to make it even bigger and better. There will be poetry readings and motivational speaker Marti M. Fitzhugh who is a survivor of international human trafficking, addiction and homelessness. She rebounded to live a happy and prosperous life in California and Indiana, alternately. Marti has begun speaking to raise awareness about human trafficking. Her story is powerful and uplifting.

Come Join Us:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

7:00pm - 9:00pm

Pruis Hall at Ball State

There is also an event on facebook, click here to RSVP

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Opporunity...

...To go make and buy yummy treats!

Yes we are having another bake sale. The sale will run through today and start up again tomorrow morning at 9am until we either run out of goodies or run out of daylight. Today we have lots treats including: vegan spice cake, peanut butter cookies, puppy chow, funfetti cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and lots of other goodies as more people bring them in. Also there is information about the upcoming Fondue Party at the table, don't worry information is free, while all goodies are 50 cents. The goodies are going fast so I might suggest hurrying over to Teachers College to go get yours for the day.

Think of it as doing your good deed for the day...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pictures from the Bake Sale

Sorry it took me so long to get these posted. Better late than never. Also don't forget to check out the facebook group! I am going to post them up there too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bake Sale and Meeting

Today is the Bake Sale! Already we have run out of a few tasty morsels, it is still going on tomorrow so make sure to go buy some treats, if you can't make it out today. Also we have a meeting at 8pm in the Writing Center (RB291). I took some pictures of the bake sale this morning and will post them later.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Gandhi!

To celebrate go look up information about his life and works.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Thought

If we're going to do it inside anyway, what if we go ahead and do our "annual" Fair Trade chocolate fondue party? I still have all the information from last year about our bid to CAFB about the cost for food. It would be another thing to juggle, but it really might attract more people. Vote now!

Inside / Outside Thoughts

It'll probably be cold, so it would be nice to have it inside. But, that also limits our exposure to random people walking around. However, if we advertise well enough, hopefully everyone will know about it anyway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Concert Dilemma

As many of you are aware, we had to postpone the concert... again. Just the other day, I heard from Ben at Lafollette Field that we could reserve it for Friday, October 16 but not Saturday the 17th. This is cool, but unfortunately the 16th is also the beginning of family weekend. We would be competing with Harry Potter and a few events on campus and in downtown Muncie. Another drawback of this day is that since we got clearance for it so late, we don't have the 30 days required for submitting a request for money to the CAFB, which has funded many of our past activities and could foot the bill for all the expenses the university is charging us. A positive part of the 16th is that many people would be in town and it could still be relatively warm, at least warmer than the other possible days (the avg. temperature on that day is 56 degrees - see

The week after the 16th is fall break, so we'd have to have our concert on Thursday the 22nd. Obviously, many people could be gone by then, but it would buy us some time and wouldn't conflict with other major events. On the next weekend, Friday Oct. 30 could be a possibility - the only conflict I saw was that UPB is showing Transformers at 9. On Saturday Oct. 31, other than Halloween, there's a football game going on in the middle of the day. These later dates would allow us to apply for money and hopefully get more people involved, but it will also be colder (the avg. temp. for the end of the month is 46 degrees).

I know we don't have a lot of awesome options, but I just wanted to get your input. Please vote for a day in the poll on the side of the page. If you have any ideas about other options we have (moving it inside...), please state it on a comment to this post.

Thanks for all your help and work!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Concert Update...

The Feel the Music, Free the Slaves concert is postponed. We haven't nailed down a time yet, but we plan to do so soon. We are looking into having it on Family Weekend at Ball State, but we haven't gotten the clearance for it yet. Keep checking out the blog (here) and the facebook group for more information.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome Back

Hey! Welcome back to Ball State and more importantly Free the Slaves! We are a campus organization that works with Free the Slaves to liberate slaves worldwide--that includes the United States, even Indiana. To get more information shoot a quick email to We have a facebook group too-Free The Slaves--BSU Chapter. Our first meeting will be Thursday August 27, 2009 at The Writing Center (RB 291) at 6.30 pm. We also have a concert planned for September 25, 2009 at Lafollette field from 6.00 pm 'til 11.00 pm. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Craigslist to drop "erotic services" ads

BOSTON (Reuters) - Online classified site Craigslist will replace its "erotic services" ads with a new adult category following pressure by state authorities after the murder of a masseuse who advertised on the site.

The "erotic services" section will end within seven days and be replaced by an "adult services" category where advertisements will be individually screened by Craigslist staff, Craigslist said in a statement on Wednesday.

The measures could set a precedent for similar sites, said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led a 40-state task-force on Craigslist and campaigned publicly for tighter controls on the San Francisco-based service.

"Closing the erotic services section, a blatant Internet brothel, should lead to other blocking and screening measures, and set a model for other sites, if Craigslist keeps its word," he said.

Craigslist's sex-service listings have faced intense scrutiny since the April 14 murder of 25-year-old masseuse Julissa Brisman, who advertised on Craigslist in Boston.

Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old Boston University medical student, was charged with killing Brisman and with attacks on two other women he met through Craigslist ads.

Craigslist, a 14-year-old online bazaar that generates more than 20 billion page views per month in 50 countries with a staff of just 28 people, is partially owned by online auctioneer eBay, which bought 25 percent in 2004.

Along with free listings for everything from apartments and furniture to jobs and cars, carries one of the largest and most controversial sex-service listings. Its rapid growth and low-cost business model have hurt newspapers by siphoning away advertising revenue.

Craigslist had already made some changes to curb illegal activity on its site. Under pressure from 40 U.S. attorneys general, the site agreed in November to charge people posting erotic ads $5-$10 by credit card and require them to submit a working phone number to use the site.


From Wednesday, postings to the "erotic services" section will no longer be accepted, Craigslist said. Postings to the new section, which opened immediately, cost $10. Once they are approved, they will be eligible for reposting at $5.

Not every state was satisfied. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has pressed Craigslist to go further by tracking computer IP addresses of suspected prostitution rings and take other safeguards.

"Several weeks ago, we informed Craigslist of an impending criminal case that implicated its website. Rather than work with this office to prevent further abuses, in the middle of the night, Craigslist took unilateral action which we suspect will prove to be half-baked," Cuomo said in a statement.

His office declined to elaborate on the criminal case.

In April, Blumenthal asked Craigslist officials to eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" and similar sections of the site, hire staff to screen ads that violate Craigslist rules and offer incentives for people who flag and report prostitution advertisements.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NYT article and Polaris Project blog update

In addition to this very interesting NYT article on art projects with child soldiers, the Polaris Project blog has been updated. I strongly encourage you guys to follow it because it presents interesting responses to human trafficking.

Since the tradition began in 1954, the title of goodwill ambassador for United Nations’ agencies has usually been appended to names that might have been borrowed from the credits for a film festival: Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Mia Farrow, Susan Sarandon and, lately, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.

But on Tuesday Simone Monasebian, the New York chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, introduced the next ambassador to be named for her office, a man well known in certain circles but not often followed by paparazzi: Ross Bleckner, the painter, who will be the first fine artist named to the ceremonial post.

Earlier this year Mr. Bleckner, whose mostly abstract work came to prominence in the 1980s and who has long been involved in AIDS-related causes, went on an official mission to the Gulu district of northern Uganda. Gulu has been terrorized for many years by the rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has abducted and conscripted thousands of children, forcing boys and girls to become killers and sex slaves.

Using thousands of dollars’ worth of paint, brushes and paper shipped from New York Central Art Supply in the East Village, Mr. Bleckner, 59, worked with a group of 25 children — former abductees and ex-soldiers — for more than a week at a Roman Catholic aid center. The children made 200 paintings that will be sold at a benefit at the United Nations headquarters next month at which Mr. Bleckner will be appointed goodwill ambassador. Several of the luminous paintings are now on view in the front window of the clothing store Moschino in the meatpacking district, whose company is providing money to support the Gulu project.

Finish reading the article here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slavery on our streets

by Cassandra Clifford

As April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, events are taking place throughout the month to highlight the various forms of sexual assault which plagues millions of young girls across the globe. However one does not have to look outside our borders to see the face of modern slavery, nor does one have to look into the eyes of a foreign born national to see the pain and suffering for which it causes. Modern slavery, or human trafficking, is a problem that plagues us right here at home. There is no country immune to this disease of power and greed, which binds some 27 million people around the world, including the US and our Nations Capital. The average of entry into prostitution in the United States is 12-13 years-old, and DC streets ranked among the top 14 cities for human trafficking by the FBI, are see their fair share of young victims each night.

The US State department estimates that some 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year and about 80 percent of them are female and at least 50% are children. The numbers given by the State Department do not included the millions of victims which are trafficked with in countries borders, including the United States. The US government has stated that there are some 17,500 victims of sex trafficking in the United States each year, however all of these government figures are well understated and the true number of victims is unknown.

As brought to your attention in last weeks piece, The Dark Side of The Washington Post, DC is a strong hold for brothels posing as massage parlors, a fate which is sadly not unique to the capital, as seen in a report by MSNBC Undercover: Sex Slaves in America. The MSNBC piece gave great incite into the plight of those enslaved within the US borders, and is highly recommended as a starting point when looking into the depth and scale of this issue and how it effects cities across the country. You will see in the report a large focus on San Fransisco, which has made their message of non-tolerance for sex trafficking and slavery very clear, however is still tied by the hand of bureaucracy and is only beginning to scrape the surface of this enormous problem. San Fransisco is tackling the massage parlors, the ones that look just like those in every major city, and many not so major cities. While the issue of slavery is not the stated premise for the cities surprise inspections, the requirements of permits for masseuses, require girls to be covered from the neck down. Surprise raids have uncovered false walls reveals rooms where slaves are hidden out of the view of the public eyes, unable to leave, locked into fortress like buildings, under the watchful eyes of guards, cameras. The Task Force with the health department; they say they cannot fully eradicate trafficking but they are having some impact. The city of San Fransisco while not free and clean of slavery, is working to crack down on those who prey on the innocence of young girls. Those who use sex and fear to enslave women and girls for nothing more than greed and profit.

In DC the cities own Task Force on Human Trafficking, in addition to increased cooperation, training and awareness by the cities police force, other law enforcement agencies and NGOs, have been increasingly successful in raiding brothels since the establishment of the Task Force in 2004. However as seen in the Post piece the issues must be tackled from all sides, including demand, and while DC does require masseuses to be licensed, it is rarely a deterrent to illegal operations who often just reopen under a new name after raids. As San Fransico saw, surprise inspections and fines alone will not end the trafficking of women. As long as the demand continues women and children will continue to be forced into sexual slavery, and their lives will continue to be torn apart by greed and demand.

To better understand the effects of the demand for commercial sex services, on human trafficking, see Shared Hope's video Demand, which you can watch on-line or download, the video gives great incite into the fate of domestic victims of sex trafficking.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

An End to R-E-S-P-E-C-T for P-I-M-P-S

At the Karma Nightclub in Minneapolis a few days ago, April 5, there was a Players Ball.

Let’s stop for a minute. That’s a publicly-advertised wild bash at a nightclub, celebrating pimps’ business… What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s bad enough that we look at the record of arrests related to prostitution and we find that manifold more prostituted females are arrested and punished than pimping males. That is one reason the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008 aptly requires statistics on those arrested in prostitution to separate the numbers of arrests for prostituted people from the johns and pimps.

Pimps regularly engage in the force, fraud, and coercion that under the law qualify them as sex traffickers – whether or not the females they victimize are foreign nationals or U.S. citizens. But what’s worse is a culture which lionizes pimps. Pimps are celebrated as hip – in film, in television, in music lyrics. They are seen as cool for “sticking it to the man.” They are treated like they are admirable iconoclasts rebelling against the Establishment.

But just think about how their true specialty is acting out against the woman. To the woman from whom they take every cent received from johns, upon threat of punishment — to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. To the woman they allegedly protect but regularly intimidate and beat. The regular violence pimps employ is far from the glamorized image in popular music, videos, TV, and films. Take it from Rachel Lloyd, a survivor of sex trafficking who leads Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), “So what’s it really like for us? They never tell us that we’ll never see any of the money we make…the beatings, the physical torture we’ll receive.”

Read the rest of Ambassador Mark Lagon's blog post here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Will Iraq Crack Down on Sex Trafficking?

Ravaged by rights groups and upbraided by the U.S. for failing to take measures against human trafficking, the Iraqi government has been quietly working on a draft law to tackle the scourge. Baghdad was prodded into action late last year, after the release of the U.S. State Department's "Trafficking in Persons Report," according to Human Rights Minister Wijdan Mikhail Salim. "Let's say it was a tough report about the situation in Iraq, and in so many cases it was right," she says.

The report was damning. Baghdad, it concluded, "offers no protection services to victims of trafficking, reported no efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and does not acknowledge trafficking to be a problem in the country." As a story detailed, trafficking in Iraq is a shadowy underworld where nefarious female pimps hold sway and impoverished mothers sell their teenage daughters on the sex market. (See pictures of a women's prison in Baghdad.)

The situation is slowly changing. The draft law, a copy of which was obtained by TIME, imposes tough penalties, including life imprisonment and a fine not exceeding 25 million dinars ($21,000) for traffickers if the victim "is under 15, or a female, or has special needs." The same punishment applies if the crime was committed by kidnapping or force, or if the criminal "is a direct or distant relative or the victim's caretaker or husband or wife," a tacit acknowledgment that victims are often trafficked by people they know.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Meeting on Thursday!

Don't forget that there is a meeting this Thursday at 9 pm in RB 291! Hope to see you all there!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Human trafficking clinic to open at 'U' this fall

By Veronica Menaldi
Daily Staff Reporter On April 5th, 2009

A new University Law School clinic will be one of the first in the country to take aim at human trafficking — or, as one official calls it, “modern day slavery.”

The clinic will focus on a growing industry that now involves the illegal trafficking of 60,000 to 80,000 people per year across international borders — the majority of whom are women and children sold into sex industries, according to the U.S. Immigration Lawyers website.

Law School students will operate the clinic and provide legal representation to human trafficking victims in the United States.

The students will also work on international law reform projects to help strengthen anti-human trafficking laws in other countries.

Bridgette Carr, a visiting clinical assistant professor at the Law School, who worked on a similar project at the University of Notre Dame last year, will lead the clinic.

Carr said that while human trafficking most commonly takes place in the sex trade industry, this “modern day slavery” also exists in many other forms, for example, in businesses-like hair salons.

“It is estimated that worldwide slavery is more prevalent now than at any other time in history,” she said.

Aaron Wenzloff, a second-year Law student, said he plans to participate in the human trafficking clinic this fall. Wenzloff was involved in an Urban Communities Clinic led by Carr last fall and said he thought this opportunity would be a “great fit” for him.

Stemming the mounting trend in human trafficking involves more than simply stopping the traffickers, Wenzloff said.

“Part of the role of a lawyer is to tackle problems holistically, and that means helping find supportive housing programs, education programs, and other social services for the victims,” he said.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

justice is what love looks like in public

Hey guys, I got an email from the Call+Response organization and it had some pretty neat ideas that we can talk about at our next meeting or something:

We wanted to let you know about a friend of ours who has written a fantastic book on the issue, recently released on paperback, entitled "A Crime So Monstrous".

Benjamin Skinner infiltrates trafficking networks and slave sales on five continents, exposing a modern flesh trade never before portrayed in such proximity. From mega-harems in Dubai to illicit brothels in Bucharest, from slave quarries in India to child markets in Haiti, he explores the underside of a world we scarcely recognize as our own and lays bare a parallel universe where human beings are bought, sold, used, and discarded. He travels from the White House to war zones and immerses us in the political and flesh-and-blood battles on the front lines of the unheralded new abolitionist movement. BUY HERE (I own this book and it's a really fantastic read. -K)

Want to get involved in the 21st Century Abolitionist Movement in other ways? Here are some free, but effective ways to make a serious difference:

1. Make your products SLAVE-FREE™: A picture - or a letter - could be worth a thousand slaves. With a camera and a slave-free logo, you can make companies take notice of the use of slave-labor for their products. Check out to get involved. Also, visit to shop for items that you commonly use. For each product chosen, an email will be sent to that company to let them know that you want their product chains to be Slave-Free™.

2. Tag You're Free: Let all who walk the sidewalks know about slavery, and
clean up product chains. Visit, get a stencil, and use cleaning products to stencil the symbol into the sidewalks. You can then geotag your stencil's location on the Tag You're Free world map.

3. Open-Source Activism: What is your idea for how to respond? We want to share it with the rest of the network. Upload a description of your response at We'll be looking for great ideas that need help for implementation. You may also win a grant from to make it happen!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Akon and Peter Buffett's "Blood Into Gold" Video and Song

Hey everyone, the post below talks about "Blood Into Gold," which is the collaborative effort between Peter Buffett and Akon, and I wanted to share the video and iTunes download link with you guys. All of the proceeds from buying the song on iTunes go toward charities working to end slavery, so I STRONGLY encourage you all to do that!

Akon's 'Blood Into Gold' Raises Awareness Of Horrors Of Human Trafficking

By Shaheem Reid

Akon is busy working on one of his most important collaborations. When 'Kon and legendary singer Peter Buffet first came together to discuss music, they found more common ground in their interest in philanthropy — now the two are working together to stop human trafficking across the globe.

"We have a Web site called," Akon said. "What this site is, it gives anyone information related to foundations. Some people are like, 'I want to help somebody' or they want to donate money to a foundation, but don't have the means to find out how to do so — this site is almost like a Google for that. Anybody that wants to do anything philanthropic can go to this site and get more information on it. What we do every quarter is focus on a topic — this quarter is human trafficking. It's something that's been happening around the world. That's the focus, and we're launching a song we did called 'Blood Into Gold.'

"The concept is how people take blood and turn it into gold," he explained on Wednesday night before performing the record at the United Nations.

'Kon and Buffet have previously joined forces on projects for Africa as well as other charities. Akon explained that through his travels, he learned of human trafficking and he wanted to do his part to help.

"You can raise the awareness of it," he said. "[There's] a lot of that going on around the world, people being sold — even here, pimping is human trafficking, if you look at it. You got these women in brothels and whorehouses against their wills. A lot of people don't know what to do or where to start, let alone how to stop it. We're just trying to find a solution. Our involvement is not profitable; it's just to raise awareness. The more people who know about it, the solutions are eventually gonna come. That's how you start — people who aren't aware, make them aware."

Head to to find a community where you, your friends and your favorite celebrities can get informed, get heard and take action on the issues that matter to you most.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meeting Tonight!

Hey everybody!

There is a meeting tonight at 9:00 pm in RB 291 (the Writing Center). Hope to see you there!!

Vote for the Polaris Project!

Hey everyone, I got this email this morning from the Polaris Project:

Dear Supporters -

We are in 2nd place to win additional funds for our Washington, DC Trafficking Intervention Program. By making it to 1st place we will win $5,000 to put toward critical services for victims of human trafficking, including food, clothing, shelter, mental health services, legal services, and job skills training.

Please take one minute today and cast your vote!

To vote now go to:

(Note: After you vote, you can check "No, thank you" and your contact information will remain confidential and you will not receive anything from the Washington Area Women's Foundation.)

Already voted?

* Forward this email to 5 friends or coworkers and encourage them to vote too!
* Join our cause on and spread the word by inviting your friends to join the cause.
* Send a message out about the vote on a school, faith-based organization, or community group listserv.

For more information about our programs to serve victims of human trafficking, please go to

Thank you for your support!

Polaris Project staff

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two U.S. Women Charged With Child Trafficking In Egypt

Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - Two American women are in jail in Egypt after being charged with human trafficking because they used spurious birth certificates of Egyptian children they adopted in applying for their U.S. visas.

Suzanne Hagelof, who lives in Egypt with her husband, and Iris Botros, a former citizen of Egypt and now a resident of North Carolina, are detained in the overcrowded Tora prison in Cairo and will be tried starting May 16. Both are facing 10 years in prison if convicted of human trafficking.

Six other people, including two doctors and a nun who ran a local orphanage, are being tried together with the two Americans for forging documents to illegally adopt Egyptian children and smuggled them out of the country.

All the accused were led to a local court Saturday in handcuffs and placed inside a cage in the courtroom. Hagelof and Botros' husbands were present in the trial.

Hagelof adopted a child from an orphanage run by a Coptic Christian Church last year. Botros adopted twins from another orphanage run by the same religious organization seven months later and donated $4,600 to the church.

Both planned to take their adoptive children to the U.S. However, staff in the U.S. embassy in Cairo alerted local authorities because the adoptive parents presented fake birth certificates of the children in getting visas for the latter.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faith in Action

Hey guys, Free the Slaves has created a new section on their website called "Faith in Action."

You should check it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meeting on Thursday!

Hey, just a quick reminder about the meeting on THURSDAY at 9 pm at the WRITING CENTER (RB 291). Please come if you can and be ready to do some major planning for the next two weeks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

US govt, MTV use animation to fight human trafficking

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Music channel MTV on Monday announced the release of a US government-backed animation programme aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Asia.

The half-hour anime show entitled "Intersection" will feature the voices of Asian film star Ananda Everingham and MTV VJ Taya Rogers and will premiere on MTV Asia on March 20, it said in a statement.

The story will be told from the perspective of five individuals who are part of the trafficking chain -- the victim, trafficker, brothel owner, client and undercover police officer.

"I am proud to be a part of this project that will educate young men and women in Singapore and all over Asia on this important issue," Everingham said.

"I hope the animation will stir meaningful conversations about how we can fight against this tragic form of modern-day slavery."

UN estimates show that there are 2.5 million victims of human trafficking worldwide at any one time, according to a joint statement from MTV and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Human trafficking is the second-biggest illegal trade after drugs and those involved in the trade earn more than 10 billion dollars a year, it said.

Singapore and Malaysia were identified among the top destination countries for trafficking victims from poorer countries, the statement said.

"Intersection" is part of a series of programmes produced by MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) in partnership with the USAID to educate the public on the human trafficking scourge.

"We're using a different medium, animation, to alert young people about the risks of human trafficking," said USAID mission director for Asia Olivier Carduner.

Last year, MTV organised a concert at Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat temple as part of its anti-human trafficking campaign.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Let's celebrate the amazing news that by the end of summer 2009, Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars can be part of our diet again!

We congratulate Cadbury on their commitment to justice and now look to their policy being adopted across their entire product range.

Cadbury's decision demonstrates the power of ordinary consumers in bringing change and freedom. Two years ago, STOP THE TRAFFIK met with Cadbury and was told that a fairtrade Cadbury's bar was impossible and impracticable.

This is a victory for every person who has complained, campaigned and spread the message. But most of all, it is a victory for every child held in exploitative labour on West African cocoa farms. It is important to remember though that all exploited children will not be free until Mars, Nestle, Lindt, Hershey and all the others have put human rights before profit and make similar announcements. Click here to find out more about the trafficking of children to work on cocoa farms.

STOP THE TRAFFIK has been calling for individual companies to take responsibility for the chocolate they sell and asking for it to be traffik free. This is a very significant step in our campaign.

If you've been part of this, e-mail it to your local press and tell them of the campaigning you did.

Together we will STOP THE TRAFFIK

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sheriff: Craigslist 'largest source of prostitution' in US

CHICAGO (AFP) — An Illinois sheriff filed a lawsuit against Craigslist on Thursday calling the popular website the largest clearing house for prostitution in the United States.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart sued the owners of the classified ad site in US District Court for facilitating prostitution by failing to block blatant offers to trade sex for money.

"Craigslist is the single largest source of prostitution in the nation," Dart said at a press conference in Chicago.

"Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they're being pimped on Craigslist."

Dart's lawsuit was filed four months after San Francisco-based Craigslist settled a nationwide lawsuit by promising to enact new rules to crack down on prostitution.

Dart said his officers have seen no change in the number or type of postings in the "Erotic Services" section since the website's owner promised "sweeping changes" and said "no amount of criminal activity is acceptable."

"This section is a convenient clearing house for pimps, prostitutes and patrons that enables sellers to advertise and buyers to peruse discretely," Dart said in court filings.

Dart said he has made numerous written pleas to Craigslist in the past two years asking them to shut down the Erotic Services section, which generates about 300 posts a day in Chicago alone.

In the past two years, Dart's department has made more than 200 arrests linked to the website on charges that include juvenile pimping, human trafficking and endangerment of a child.

The people arrested have ranged from heroin addicts to suburban soccer moms, a former reality TV star and teenagers as young as 14 years old.

Dart asked a federal judge to order Craigslist to eliminate its Erotic Services section.

He is also seeking reimbursement for tax dollars spent paying the salaries of officers who investigate and arrest those responsible for trafficking prostitutes on the website.

A Craigslist spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case because she has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

"Misuse of Craigslist to facilitate criminal activity is unacceptable, and we continue to work diligently to prevent it," Susan MacTavish said in an e-mail in which she outlined a number of measures Craigslist has taken to prevent illegal activity.

"Misuse of the site is exceptionally rare compared to how much the site is used for legal purposes. Regardless, any misuse of the site is not tolerated on Craigslist."

Dart said street gangs are now using Craigslist to pimp out prostitutes.

An FBI investigation found last year that more than 2,800 child prostitution ads had been posted on Craigslist and a recent nationwide sweep for child trafficking and prostitution netted hundreds of arrests, he added.

"Pimps are preying on the most vulnerable members of our society and taking advantage of our struggling economy," Dart told reporters.

"The worst part is Craigslist's owners know their website is still being used for illegal purposes and they're doing nothing to stop it."

While Craigslist does not profit from ads in the Erotic Services section, Dart claimed the traffic it generates accounts for the bulk of the website's popularity and allowed it to generate 80 million dollars in revenue last year from paid posts for jobs and apartments.

In November, Craigslist said it would charge a small fee and require credit card verification for postings in the Erotic Services section and all revenue from the ads would be donated to charity.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Human Sex Trafficking Addressed at the Capitol

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Movies like Pretty Woman make prostitution seem glamorous, but legislators at the Capitol Monday said its more like slavery.

Senator Ann Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) is sponsoring a bill that would provide protection to victims and prosecute traffickers.

Joy Friedman became a victim at the age of 13 and remained a part of the human trafficking system for 23 years.

"I didn't choose to do any of it," Friedman said. "I was forced into it. I didn't like anything about it. It was not a lot of money as far as what I make. Everyone else makes money and gets their satisfaction off it, but not me. It's about them getting theirs."

According to the United States Department of Justice, Minnesota is currently ranked 13th in the country for sex trafficking.

Sen. Pappas said that could be because Minneapolis has an international airport, boarders Canada and has a high immigrant population.

Sen. Pappas says it's not just immigrants who become victims. She says women who have low self confidence and self worth are easily manipulated into becoming victims.

And the recession doesn't help. Cheryl Thomas with the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights says when there's desperate economic times, human trafficking increases.

The currently law recognizing and prostitution and human trafficking for work and prostitution, but does not recognized human trafficking for sex acts. This law would change that

"Fear is used as a method of control," Friedman said. "That's why it's difficult for victims to get out of the system.

Non-profit group Breaking Free works with women and girls involved in systems of prostitution and sex trafficking as well as other battered women involved in the criminal justice system

Joy Friedman works with the group and says, "They look beyond the labels of sex trafficking victims and help them get back on their feet by providing a place to live for one thing."

"The housing piece gave me a place to lay my head and lock the door and I held the key no one else," Friedman said.

Friedman has been out of the system for eight and a half years and is helping other victims of human trafficking as an advocate with Breaking Free.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Advertising Ideas?

Hey guys,
If you have any ideas for advertising the April 1st movie night, you can post them here!

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Child prostitution sweep nets 500 suspects

CHARLOTTE – More than 500 people were arrested in a nationwide crackdown involving juvenile prostitution rings, including one person in Charlotte.

The FBI said they took nearly 50 children, some as young as 13 years old, during a weekend-long sweep called Operation Cross Country. But despite only making one arrest in the state, they say they came away with valuable information.

"We did make one arrest, seizures of money from a prostitution organization and intelligence was gleamed from that,” FBI Agent David Drew said. “And it may lead us to where we need to be."

FBI agents say ads over the Internet and in papers attract customers to a growing business of juvenile prostitution.

"The Internet is mainly where we see a lot of it," Drew said. "Craigslist is used quite a bit."

Drew is hoping for more arrests and more juveniles rescued from prostitution rings.

"The more people that we can have arrested and put away, convicted and put away to federal prison, it's just going to save some young girls' lives," said Mark Kadel, with North Carolina World Relief, a national organization that deals with human trafficking.

If any minors were forced into prostitution, the organization could step in to help.

"I think even if it's a runaway, people are coerced through fraud and lies," Kadel said.

The Charlotte case remains open as agents hope to make more arrests. There is a human trafficking forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Concord.

There's also a video on the website that I got this from. It's really interesting, so you should check it out :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meeting on Thursday!

Hey everyone! There's a meeting this Thursday (tomorrow) at 9 pm in RB 291 (the Writing Center). Hope to see you there!!

ALSO if you're available, come hang out at the Scramble Light tomorrow between 9-5(ish) and pass out information or hold signs to bring awareness to the fact that slavery still exists!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eve Ensler: Teenage Girls Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery

Hey guys, this is a really interesting, and really heartbreaking, new monologue from Eve Ensler. I hope you watch it :)

UN surprised at female role in 'modern slavery'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Surprisingly, the perpetrators behind human trafficking around the world are often women, the U.N. reported Thursday.

Women are the majority of traffickers in almost a third of the 155 nations the U.N. surveyed. They accounted for more than 60 percent of the human trafficking convictions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

For many, human trafficking is a world they had been pulled into themselves.

"Women commit crimes against women, and in many cases the victims become the perpetrators," Antonio Maria Costa, director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said in an interview. "They become the matrons of the business and they make money. It's like a drug addiction."

Most of the world's nations reported some form of "modern slavery" last year involving mainly the sex trade or forced labor.

And the number of victims should grow as the global financial crisis deepens, Costa said.

Read more here.

And here's a CNN article that basically says the same thing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

UN: Many countries ill-equipped to deal with human trafficking

Vienna - A large number of countries around the world are still lacking tools to identify, report or prosecute human trafficking, a United Nations report made public on Thursday found. Although more countries adopted laws against human trafficking between 2003 and 2008, 61 of 155 monitored countries did not record a single conviction, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

"Either they are blind to the problem, or they are ill-equipped to deal with it," UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa said in the report, which he was set to formally issue later Thursday in New York.

At 79 per cent, sexual exploitation is the predominant reason for human trafficking, followed by forced labour. But there were worrying instances of new types of trafficking, including trade with human organs, the report said.

Southern Africa was cited as the region with the weakest mechanisms for prosecuting and reporting abuses. Of the 11 countries in the region, only Zambia has prosecuted suspects since 2003.

Some countries, including China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, did not provide any data to the UNODC.

UN researchers were surprised to find that women account for a large share not only of victims but also traffickers in many regions. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, more 60 per cent of convicted human traffickers are women.

The UNODC said it was alarmed by reports of cases involving new forms of trafficking, including for organ trade in Europe and other regions, ritual killings in Southern Africa and forced marriages in Asia.

The report provided no data regarding the global scale of the problem, noting only that the total number of identified victims rose from 11,700 to 14,900 between 2003 and 2006 in 71 selected countries.

According to earlier UN estimates, annual profits from human trafficking are 32 billion dollars. Around 2.5 million people are estimated to be held in forced labour, including forced sex, at any given time.

Citing a lack of information, the report said: "Today, the member states lack the ability to say with any precision how many victims of human trafficking there are, where they come from or where they are going."


Meeting Tonight!

Hey everyone.  I just wanted to tell you that we are having a meeting tonight at the Writing Center at 9pm.  Oh and bring 15 bucks if you want to buy a t-shirt.  Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Selling Brides: Native Mexican Custom or Crime?

By Ioan Grillo / San Juan Copala Sunday, Feb. 01, 2009

Marcelino de Jesus Martinez was arrested in Greenfield, Calif., on suspicion of human trafficking and charged with a felony for selling his 14-year-old daughter to Margarito de Jesus Galindo
Marcelino de Jesus Martinez was arrested in Greenfield, Calif., on suspicion of human trafficking and charged with a felony for selling his 14-year-old daughter to Margarito de Jesus Galindo
Monterey County Sheriff's Department / AP

U.S. courtroom dramas don't usually have much impact in this ramshackle village of Triqui Indians deep in the mountains of southern Mexico. But a new case unraveling in Greenfield, Calif., has sent shockwaves through the Mexican community. The accused men are both of Triqui ethnicity, an ancient people who number in just the tens of thousands. The trial will judge one of their most sacred rites: bride prices. Adding to their concern is the way global media have jumped on the story, with the Internet headline "Man Sells Daughter for Beer" sparking a sudden interest in Triqui customs from Italy to Australia.

The case centers on an alleged marriage arrangement that went sour involving Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, his 14-year-old daughter and her suitor, Margarito de Jesus Galindo, 18. Galindo had agreed to pay Martinez for his daughter's hand in marriage, according to Greenfield police. According to the cops, the total cost was $16,000, one hundred cases of beer and several cases of meat. "The 14-year-old juvenile moved in with Galindo, and when payments were not received, the father, Martinez, called Greenfield [police] to bring back the daughter," the police said in a Jan. 12 statement.

Read more here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More than a thousand women were forced into sex slavery, Justice Department reports

By Bill Myers
Examiner Staff Writer 1/25/09

More than 1,000 mostly young women in the United States were forced into sexual slavery last year, an alarming new Justice Department report has found.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics analyzed thousands of cases of alleged human trafficking. It found that the sex trade accounted for more than three out of every four human trafficking cases tracked by the Justice Department.

Anytime anyone is forced into prostitution, they are considered “trafficked,” according to the Justice Department. Children 17 or under who are in prostitution are considered trafficked whether they were coerced or not.

According to the report, about a quarter of the nation’s sex slaves were under 17; two-fifths were between 18 and 24.

Hispanic women and girls were most likely to be victims of the human traffickers. They made up about two-fifths of sexual slaves and more than half of trafficked laborers.

The Justice Department also found that U.S. citizens make up the majority of victims and perpetrators in human trafficking. Nearly two-thirds of sex slaves were U.S. citizens. Nearly three-quarters of suspected sex traffickers were U.S. citizens, the report found.

Andrea Powell, co-founder of FAIR Fund, a D.C.-based anti-trafficking group, said trafficking is a major regional problem.

“D.C. is a hot spot for labor trafficking as well as sex trafficking,” Powell told The Examiner. “Foreign nationals are brought into the area to work as nannies, house domestics and even on construction sites. Sex trafficking affects both foreign and national victims.”

About 40 trafficking victims are rescued in the D.C. area every month, Powell said.

Hoping to get a handle on the problem, D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, D-at large, introduced a bill earlier this month that broadens the definition of trafficking and includes labor trafficking as an offense.

“Trafficking is a much more pervasive problem than most people realize,” Mendelson said. “And there’s no justification for trafficking — it’s human slavery.”

The Justice Department report is online at

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes we can! Ending slavery has never been more possible!

Momentum is building, check out to read about recent victories on Capitol Hill and great opportunities with the Obama administration.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

U.S. Catholic contract unconstitutional: ACLU suit

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. civil liberties group sued the federal government Monday, charging it violated the Constitution by contracting a Roman Catholic entity to help victims of human trafficking.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was imposing its beliefs on victims of human trafficking by not allowing federal grant money to be used for contraception or abortion.

When the bishops applied for the contracts, they said they would not work with subcontractors who provided abortion services or contraceptives, such as condoms, which conflict with Catholic teachings, according to the ACLU.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston said the Department of Health and Human Services violated the separation of church and state by giving the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops $6 million in grants from 2006 through 2008.

Many women victims of human trafficking are forced to work as prostitutes, and face a high risk of assault and rape, the ACLU said in court papers.

The Department of Health and Human Services permitted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "to impose its own religiously based substantive restrictions on the use of grant funds," the ACLU argued.

The suit asks the court to stop the department from allowing its grants being spent in a way that is restricted by religious beliefs.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the bishops' conference said the $6 million figure cited in the suit was the full amount authorized. But "far less" money had been appropriated, she said without giving a figure.

"The problem of trafficking in this country is huge and serious and the Catholic Church has the best network of services bar none," she said. "Going to the Catholic Church for social services is very logical."

Representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

Greenfield Father Arrested for Human Trafficking

Posted: Jan 12, 2009 08:49 PM

Updated: Jan 13, 2009 03:40 AM

GREENFIELD. Calif. - A bizarre case in Greenfield, as a father is accused of selling his 14-year-old daughter for marriage. Marcelino de Jesus Martinez was arrested Sunday night after voluntarily speaking with Greenfield Police.

Chief Joe Grebmeier says Martinez was not aware of United States Laws that prohibit arrainged marriages involving minors.

Police admit the case is strange. Martinez agreed to a payment plan with 18-year-old Margarito de Jesus Galindo. It included $16,000 plus: 150 cases of beer, 50 cases of gatorade, 100 cases of soda, 6 cases of meat and two cases of wine.

"I just don't think it occurred to him that he was breaking any laws," says Grebmeier.

The Police Chief also explains the difference in culture south of the border, claiming, "Different communities have different cultures... somethings are legal in Mexico and not legal here."

Police were first notified about the case in December. According to reports, police say the 14-year-old girl left with Galindo to Soledad. It became an apparent "run-away teen" case when payments to Martinez were falling short and the father contacted police asking for his daughter's return.

It was not until Sunday night that details on the trafficking were confirmed.

Galindo was detained, but has not been arrested. Greenfield Police say Galindo and Martinez were originally neighbors in Greenfield.

Police say arrainged marriages are common in several cultures, and explain it is not an issue among consenting adults over the age of 18. Police believe the 14-year-old girl left to Soledad willingly.

This was the first case of human trafficking in at least 6 years. The case will now go to the Monterey County Distrist Attorney.

Anyone with information regarding the selling of children should call local police.